25 Sep 2007

EU biofuel problems

Sustainability criteria’ called into question ahead of EU Parliament biofuel vote Amsterdam, 25 September. For immediate release.

EU criteria for ‘sustainable’ agrofuels (also known as ‘biofuels’) are set on a collision course with the EU’s proposed 10 per cent mandatory target for agrofuel use, according to a new report published to coincide with today’s European Parliament vote on the Thomsen Report on renewable energy. Paving the way for Agrofuels – EU policy, Sustainability criteria, and climate calculations finds that the rush to develop agrofuels is contributing to the growth of monoculture plantations and promoting land use changes (including deforestation) that could damage the climate. ‘It is unlikely that any set of criteria can mitigate against the large-scale impact of agrofuels, such as the expansion of plantations for energy crops,’ says Tamra Gilbertson of the Transnational Institute, a co-author of the report. ‘Although agrofuels are promoted because of their apparent climate benefits, deforestation and other forms of land use change can generate more emissions than are supposedly saved.’ ‘The European Commission is setting “standards” as low as possible. The Commission’s proposals exclude any social criteria. EU member states like the UK and the Netherlands just require reporting instead of mandatory standards for the coming few years’ says Nina Holland of Corporate Europe Observatory, co-author of the report. Paving the way for Agrofuels also raises critical questions about the failure of the EU and member governments to consult Southern actors as they develop sustainability criteria. ‘There are huge conflicts of interest between large scale plantations and other sectors in society. Groups in the global South have so far been excluded from consultations on sustainability criteria, whereas they are the most likely to be affected’ says Holland. Paving the way for Agrofuels – EU policy, Sustainability criteria, and climate calculations is co-published by the Transnational Institute (TNI), Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Grupo de Reflexion Rural (GRR). It is available for download at www.tni.org/detail_pub.phtml?know_id=202 and www.corporateeurope.org A summary of the report conclusions can be found here: www.tni.org/detail_page.phtml?&act_id=17369 Further detailsNina Holland, +31 20 612 7023 nina@corporateeurope.orgTamra Gilbertson, +31 20 662 6608 tamra@tni.org -- GMX FreeMail: 1 GB Postfach, 5 E-Mail-Adressen, 10 Free SMS.Alle Infos und kostenlose Anmeldung: http://www.gmx.net/de/go/freemail

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